Smart home technology has taken off these last couple of years. It is now more accessible and cheaper than ever. Granted, it’s still not “cheap” per sé, but there is a sliding scale in terms of price, depending on what someone wants to do. It’s possible to add smart elements with carefully picked devices or go all out and create a whole network of connected devices.
To that end, here’s a list of the 9 best smart devices on the market right now. They add a lot of value for their respective prices. Keep in mind that, while some of these devices are more secure than others, the world of IoT is susceptible to attacks. Unfortunately, it is the reality of allowing more technology into homes.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to add some security measures. Many cybersecurity experts recommend that people use VPN technology when they add smart devices to their homes. NordVPN looks like a reliable option for this as it supports many devices. You can also install it on a router to protect everything on the network.
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1. Smart lighting: Philips Hue
One of the first smart “things” most people opt for is smart lighting. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- lights are easy to replace/install,
- it’s energy-efficient thus saving on costs,
- and it’s one of the most convenient smart additions to any home.
The problem is, there are so many variations of smart bulbs out there, that it can be hard to choose the right brand. But if there was a clear favorite amongst consumers, then it’s the Philips Hue range. These lightbulbs are easy to install and control – although they do need a Philips Bridge (hub) to work. These light bulbs are also on the expensive side, but they are of very high quality.
2. Smart Home Assistant: Amazon Alexa
Choosing the right smart home assistant/ecosystem is crucial. It needs to fit with the other smart devices a person plans on getting as well as their current lifestyle. For example, people who have a lot of Apple products around the home prefer Apple’s HomePod. Android users, meanwhile, would instead look towards Google Home.
Those two options aside, Amazon Alexa is a solid alternative and has often been voted one of the best home ecosystems out there. It’s a robust system that supports over 60,000 third-party devices and is pretty easy to control.
3. Smart Speaker: Amazon Echo
If you want to make Alexa your primary home ecosystem, then your best bet would be the Amazon Echo. This device is relatively affordable. It can act as the liaison between the owner and other smart products via voice commands.
4. Smart Thermostat: Ecobee4
The Ecobee4 is a great option for homeowners who haven’t started making any smart home improvements yet. The reason for this is that not only is it a great thermostat, but it also doubles as an Alexa smart speaker. Meaning, there’s no reason to buy something like the Amazon Echo if you have this.
Thermostat-wise, it can control any room in the house and has a room sensor to auto-adjust different spots.
5. Smart Home Security Camera: Arlo Pro 3
After various security issues with smart cameras like the Google Nest, mistrust is a significant factor. So it’s easy to understand why people would want to go for something more advanced like the Arlo Pro 3.
The camera offers an impressive array of features, including:
- 2K video recording,
- night vision,
- a 160-degree field-of-view,
- and two-way audio.
Other standard functions like zoom and motion detection feature are here too.
6. Smart Door Lock: August Smart Lock Pro
Not everyone wants a smart lock that replaces their old lock, but rather one that adds extra security. This is precisely what the August Smart Lock Pro does. It fits over the deadbolt that’s already there. On top of that, it’s easy to install and can allow other people who may need access to the home entry as well.
7. Smart Grill: Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker with SmartChef Technology
Contrary to popular belief, some people like checking whether their grill temperature is right. They go back and forth to see whether the food is ready. For everyone else, smart grills like the Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker do the heavy lifting. It alerts its owner when the temperature is perfect as well as when the food is cooked.
8. Smart Coffee Machine: Smarter Coffee (2nd Generation)
Want to wake up to that heavenly smell of brewing coffee? Then buy a smart coffee machine like the Smarter Coffee (2nd Generation) and start brewing coffee while still in bed. The coffee maker has an app for both iOS and Android but also works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
9. Smart Vacuum Cleaner: iRobot Roomba 980
Most people are familiar with smart robot vacuums by now, especially the Roomba brand. Those who want the best of the best model should take a look at the iRobot Roomba 980. This Roomba comes with two-hours battery life and smart navigation that keeps it from crashing into other objects. It is pretty expensive, though.
There are many ways to add smart functionality to a home. It all depends on how much someone wants to spend and how many devices they want to add at a time. But those listed here should be a great place to start.